Pinball pirates walk the plank


20 Aug 2008

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The bar has been set for casual video game piracy as over 100 people have been sued for illegally sharing their copy of a pinball game.

Dream Pinball 3D’s maker Topware Interactive successfully fined Londoner, Isabella Barwinska, £16,000 sterling for putting her copy of the game online on a peer-to-peer file sharing site.

While people are busted every day for making profits on selling pirated video games through eBay and other online outlets, this is mainly for the illegal mass production of software for monetary gain.

In this incident, the woman involved simply uploaded her copy of a game onto a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, but according to the Guardian she is far from alone as an estimated six million people in the UK share games illegally in this manner.

In fact, Topware has been pursuing this line of action since early last year when it demanded that UK internet service providers (ISPs) hand over details of their customers suspected of sharing the game in question.

“Illegal file sharing is a very serious issue resulting in millions of pounds of losses to copyright owners,” David Gore of Topware’s lawyers Davenport Lyons told http://www.out-law.com/page-9360Out-Law.com.

“As download speeds and internet penetration increase, this continues to be a worldwide problem across the media industry, which increasingly relies on digital revenues,”said Lyons.

Meanwhile, the UK government is aiming to consult with the public on how to handle piracy incidents whereby those suspected of uploading and sharing files are sent warning letters through their ISP by the copyright holder in question.

An example of the proliferation of video games piracy on the web is given by games industry marketer, Bruce Everiss, on his official blog, where he notes that for Sony’s PSP handheld gaming console alone the number of downloads from just one torrent site are sizeable.

The God of War: Chains of Olympus game had been downloaded 94,154 times, while Patapon hit 112,183 downloads and Ratchet & Clank – Size Matters came in at 197,113 donwloads, and this is just for one site.

By Marie Boran